Fri, Aug 31, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Russian drowns in Lake Powell, Arizona

AP, FLAGSTAFF, Arizona

A man from Russia has drowned in a reservoir along the Utah-Arizona border, authorities said on Wednesday.

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kurganov, 20, of Saint Petersburg, was with a group of 29 foreign nationals who met up at Lake Powell and rented three pontoon boats.

Some of them on Monday jumped into the water without life jackets and struggled to stay afloat as winds picked up to about 21kph, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area spokeswoman Mary Plumb said.

The group was able to pull some of the exhausted swimmers out of the water while others swam to shore, Plumb said, adding that Kurganov’s body was recovered from 2.7m of water.

Emergency responders arrived to find more people in distress than was reported.

Three others in the group nearly drowned and two people who helped bring Kurganov’s body onboard sustained cuts to their legs when they ran up against the propeller. The two were taken to local hospitals.

One man, who swam back to a boat, threw life jackets to help the swimmers, Utah State Parks Lieutenant Regan Wilson said.

Kurganov’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Coconino County, spokeswoman Trish Lees said, adding that an autopsy could take up to 60 days.

Federal, state and county authorities are investigating.

“It doesn’t seem to be foul play, just a tragic accident,” Wilson said.

The drowning comes ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest weekends of the year at Lake Powell, with thousands of people celebrating the US Labor Day holiday.

Children age 12 and younger, as well as anyone on a personal watercraft or who is being towed by a boat, are required to wear life jackets. Boat operators must carry one for every passenger, but they do not have to be worn.

“These people were not breaking any laws,” Plumb said.

The artificial reservoir is one of the largest in the US and has no lifeguards.

“We extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased and want to encourage anyone who is coming for the holiday weekend to learn this important lesson: Be safe when you’re outdoors recreating,” Plumb said.

Three others have drowned in the lake this year, including a Cedar City, Utah, man who dived in to retrieve a boat anchor and got entangled in the line, Plumb said.

One person drowned last year.

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